Dog Health & More
Brittanys were bred as gundogs, and they definitely have birds on the brain. Although they're often called Brittany Spaniels, the American Kennel Club dropped the word "spaniel" from this pointing breed's name in 1982. The energetic Brittany is a versatile family companion and hunting dog who works more closely to the hunter than other pointing breeds.
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The Brittany is a happy, elegant gundog who is alternately described as hyperactive and as the perfect family friend. The truth depends on your own interests and activity levels. Like all sporting breeds, the Brittany has energy to spare — he is certainly an Energizer Bunny of a dog — and that combined with his other qualities can make him a good fit for the right home.
Brittanys are remarkable in many ways. Their medium size — 30 to 40 pounds and 17 to 20 inches tall — is attractive to families and sportsmen alike. They're not too big to stay in the house or travel with you in your car if you have a passion for hunting. And they're versatile. Brittanys have won more dual championships than any other breed. A dual championship means that the dog has won championships in both field trials and conformation shows.
However, the Brittany isn't for everyone. For one thing, his energy level might be more than many people bargain for. Brittanys have an irrepressible joy of life and a high level of enthusiasm for everything they do, whether that's playing with the kids, seeking out birds, or simply enjoying life with a good, stretched-out, no-holds-barred run. If you don't have the same energy and enthusiasm, it can be difficult to keep up with a Brittany.
Because of his extraordinary energy, it's important to provide him with plenty of exercise. A walk around the block isn't enough. If his basic need for exercise and a job to do isn't met, he may become neurotic and hyperactive, expending his energy in ways that you probably won't like.
All dogs like to have "work" to do, but Brittanys are especially task-oriented. You can't leave your Brittany home alone all day while you go to work and then expect him to be mellow and want to lie at your feet when you come home. Not going to happen with this dog! He will have a day's worth of energy and affection pent up, and he'll be bursting at the seams to expend both. Brittanys require an hour or more of exuberant exercise every day, which makes them unsuitable for most apartment dwellers.
If you're looking for a Brittany puppy, you may hear breeders differentiating between "American" Brittanys and "French" Brittanys. Both are the same breed, but the American Brittany is taller and faster than the French Brittany, which is smaller and generally works more closely to the hunter.
Brittanys are known for being sensitive to harsh treatment. A stern look or a sharp word is often sufficient punishment when your Brittany is acting up. Train them firmly but gently, using positive reinforcement techniques such as praise, play, and food rewards.
Because of their happy, friendly nature, Brittanys are good with children and other pets. Their exuberance, however, make cause them to accidentally injure a small child, so be sure to supervise your Brittany when it is playing with your children.
If you purchase your Brittany to use for hunting, you'll find that he works much like a pointer, with a smaller range. Brittanys point on game and willingly retrieve both on land and in the water. Brittanys have a natural instinct for hunting, which makes them a good choice for people who are new to the sport of hunting.
If hunting is not the sport for you, consider participating in agility, flyball, or other such activities with your Brittany. Your dog will love it, and so will you!
If you can keep up with the Brittany's exercise needs and need for a job, you'll find that he's a great family companion. Brittanys are good-looking dogs who attract compliments. Their grooming needs are relatively simple. They're always happy, friendly, and affectionate. They could well be the perfect dog for families who play hard, love the outdoors, and want a dog to share it with them.